RE: virus: Re: The saga continues!

Robin Faichney (
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 15:34:38 +0100

> From: Nathaniel Hall[]
> Reply To:
> Sent: 15 September 1997 14:50
> To:
> Subject: Re: virus: Re: The saga continues!
> Robin Faichney wrote:
> >
> > > >> The results of an experiment which can be repeated is proof.
> > >
> > > >No it's not, it's failure of disproof.
> > >
> > > No, it's not, it's confirmation of non-failure....
> > >
> > This is relatively elementary philosophy of science,
> > a la Popper. Scientific theories cannot be proven,
> > only disproven. Unless, of course, you've disproven
> > Popper??
> Your confusing theory with fact. The fact is what your experiment
> tells
> you. The theory is your best guess as to fit the facts. (The sum total
> of yours and all other applicable experiments).
You're confusing data with facts. Experimental data means
nothing until it is put into an explanatory framework, which
is the theory. When the data does not fit, either there's
something wrong with the experiment, or with the theory.
When it does fit, the theory has not been proven, because
other, perhaps better, explanations have not been ruled out.
(Occam's Razor is only of use because sometimes different
theories fit the same data.) (And anyway, there might have
been something wrong with the experiment.)

Data are not facts, because to be in possession of a fact is
to know something about the world, i.e. to have a valid
theory. In fact, facts are theories.